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GB House Rules

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    Hi all,
    really enjoying GBR and a new found love for the rpg, which I plan to run in a couple of weeks! Following the podcast, I have noticed that it uses a mix of both of the rpgs and I am interested of any house rules the team employs, not currently on the site. I also thought here would be a great place to try out some ideas, although really I have practically no experience in running GB so would appreciate some feedback!

    1. Encumbrance
    I can see how the GBI rules are rather heavy and cumbersome, ironically, so I love the use of cards from the original rules. I was thinking of adding a little crunch to this, however. Every character can carry a number of cards equal to their Muscle rating. You can carry more than this rating, but you suffer -1 dice to all Move and Cool tests for each card above your normal limit. Regardless of a character’s Muscle rating, no character can carry more than 5 item cards.

    2. Damaging ectoplasmic entities
    Certain weapons are designed to target non-corporeal creatures, such as the Proton pack or Slime Blower. Rather than automatically causing Ectopresence, such weapon cause trait reduction damage, just like against physical weapons. The gm can choose to reduce a ghosts other traits rather than Ectopresence if they wish.

    Dark Matter Generator: This weapon adds +1 bonus damage dice when attacking ghosts and other ectoplasmic entities (creatures with the Ectopresence trait), and 3 bonus damage dice when attacking physical targets. This may also cause splash damage of 1 die to nearby targets.

    Boson Darts: These adds +2 bonus damage dice when attacking ghosts and other ectoplasmic entities (creatures with the Ectopresence trait) and +3 bonus damage dice when attacking physical targets. This may also cause splash damage of 1 or 2 dice to nearby targets.

    Proton Pistol
    This weapon adds 1 bonus dice to hit and +2 bonus damage dice when attacking physical targets.

    Slime Blower
    This weapon adds +1 bonus damage dice when attacking ghosts possessing targets or objects, and when attacking black slime creatures.

    3.Weapon Ranges
    I like the simplicity of the original rules. To help with those, each weapon has a value for Long Range and Max range (equal to 3 times the Long range distance). At Max range and beyond, the weapon is ineffective, unless you are shooting at a very large target (say a certain marshmallow themed instrument of destruction…)

    Bazooka (200/600 ft)
    Crossbow (150/450 ft)
    Grenade (40/120 ft
    Machine Gun (1000/3000 ft)
    Pistol (50/150 ft)
    Proton Pack (50/150 ft)
    Proton Pistol (50/150 ft)
    Rifle (500/1500 ft)
    Shotgun (50/150 ft)
    Speargun (50/150 ft)
    Thrown Brick (40/120 ft)
    Chair (30/90 ft)
    Knife (50/150 ft)
    Tommygun (150/450 ft)

    4. Simplified UHM Damage
    I dislike the complexities of the UHM values for calculating damage, and the fact there is a hard limit. So simplifing these vales:

    Success by (Traits Lost)
    0-4 (1)
    5-9 (2)
    10-14 (3)
    15-19 (4)
    20-29 (5)
    30-39 (6)
    40-49 (7)
    Each additional 10 (+1)

    It costs 2 Brownie Points for every trait loss you wish to negate. However this must be explained by the player. As a reward, the gm may reduce the Brownie point cost down to half, if the story is entertaining (although the player needs the full amount first).
    For example, a character is thrown out of a 5 story building. The gm rolls 7 dice for accidental damage and gets a total of 21, so the fall will cost the character 5 Traits worth of harm. The player decides to ignore 4 dice worth of damage, since they have 8 Brownie points left. They describe how the character bounces off an awning and finally lands in a dump truck full of mouldy mattresses. The gm likes this description and reduced the cost down to just 5. The character walks away with a minor wound, a few less Brownie points, and a new interesting odour!

    Thunder the M.

    My first reaction is….geez, that’s a lot of guns for a Ghostbusters game.

    I guess you ain’t afraid of no ghosts, but you damn well BETTER be afraid of humans because humans are terrifying.


    These are just the guns featured in GBI. I am running a game in Britain so I expect there to be practically none featuring in the campaign except for the odd shotgun toting farmer. I include them for completeness only!


    This is a fantastic breakdown! I’ll have to go into more detail later, but I’m really digging the simplified UHM scale for damage and Brownie Points. Even the GBI rules are pretty vague when it comes to the damage/brownie point ratio. This might be something we adopt for GBR. In our campaign, I’ve judging each “injury” as fairly as possible, but it would be great to have some solid rules for once.

    The biggest concern I have so far is adding too many bonus damage dice to the equipment. Unless you’re going to really increase the Ecto Presence, encounters will go by fast. You don’t want to make the standard bust too easy, and later on you’ll want the “serious” ghosts to feel dangerous. Striking that balance is difficult, but fun.

    General Manager of the Central Florida Ghostbusters
    We're ready to believe you! | (321) 209-2020 | Twitter: @GBResurrection


    Cheers! Regarding bonus dice, I have just converted your Ectopresence loss weapons to damage dice, so 1 Ectopresence loss (proton pack) is unmodified, 2 Ectopresence loss (say from dark Matter generator) is +1 bonus dice, -3 Ectopresence is +2 bonus dice etc. I like a uniform system, so you roll to hit a ghost, modify damage by the weapon, if at all, and use my chart above to inflict trait damage- the gm can use that to reduce Power, Brains, Cool or Ectopresence, depending on what the non-corporeal entity possesses.The same system for corporeal critters. This is really just the same system they used in GBI, which replaced the Ectopresence loss system from the original game (where you cause 2 Ectopresence if you roll double the number required to hit etc). I guess that does increase the Ectopresence loss to creatures (which would rarely take more than 2 or 3 per hit in the old system), although the gm would be free to reduce Power etc instead to prolong the life of a spook. Having no experience I cant comment on this, and am putting faith in the GBi system, to avoid duel damage systems. However, I can see it definitely shortening a ghosts lifespan so gms may need to increase their Ectopresence totals to compensate.

    Alternatively, you could reduce all Trait damage by a half, rounding up, when attacking non-corporeal targets, to account for that fact that damaging ghosts is hard.
    So for example, suppose a ghostbuster is facing a ghost with their trusty Dark Matter Generator. They manage to land hit, succeeding by 8 points. They roll an additional dice for the weapon getting a 3 (total 11), so looking up the table, the ghost must reduce their Traits by 2.
    Later that bust, the player encounters a zombie. The player hits succeeding by 12, and then gets another 3 dice, for a grand total of 25!. The zombie must reduce its traits by 5 which is probably sufficient to blow its head clean off!


    Other ideas:
    5. Simplifying Ghostbuster Charges

    On Site Inspection: $500
    Removal of Paranormal Entities:
    First Entity: $1000 per Class
    Each additional entity: $250 per Class
    Storage (one time fee): $1500

    Then you can modify this based on the clients income:

    Big Business: x5
    Wealthy: x2
    Standard: x1
    Working Class: x1/2
    Poor: x1/5

    Interestingly, the values given in the original rules are based on the pricing from the first film. With inflation these values should be at least double what they were then, but since we are dealing with completely imaginary costs, I don’t have a huge problem with sticking to the those.

    6. Simplifying Damage to NPC’s
    I like the way characters take trait damage in GBI, but for npcs this can be quiet a lot of bookkeeping, as the enemies traits are slowly whittled away, trait by trait. This is a simpler system for inflicting harm on Npcs, and is based on how Ectopresence damage is inflicted in the original game:

    Each corporeal npc has a Health rating, representing their physical toughnes, the physical equivalent of a ghost’s Ectopresence rating. Once an npc’s Health is reduced to zero, they’re are dying, concussed etc. An Npc’s Health rating is equal to their Muscle plus Moves (essentially the same value of its Ectopresence if it was a ghost).

    If you successfully hit an npc, add on any additional damage dice from your current weapon and compare your total with your original difficulty rating:

    Roll (Damage)
    Equal to Difficulty (1)
    2x the Difficulty (2)
    3x the Difficulty (3)
    4x The Difficulty (4)
    If the creature being attacked is corporeal, subtract the damage inflicted from their Health rating. If the entity is non-corporeal, subtract this damage from their Ectopresence.

    For example a ghostbuster is facing a monstrous Grave Golem, a corporeal nightmare with a Health rating of 12. He has his trusty Proton pack and unleashes a deadly proton stream . His difficulty to hit the creature is 5, since he is firing it at point blank range. He rolls a total of 14, and a further 12 from the Proton beams damage bonus, for a final total of 26.Since the Grave Golem has the Physical Immunity power (Lesser), 5 is subtracted from the total. 21 is over 4 times the difficulty number, so the Grave Golem takes 4 points of Health and is a third of the way to being destroyed!


    @phantomdoodler I think your ideas from 1-4 are good for a high power game. Lots of damage and die rolls. As mentioned, the ectopresence for encounters would need to be increased to acount for the added strength of the gb crews. I think also that no 4 works, if there is not a munchkin in the group. Maybe keep the actual chart secret, or incorporate a die roll for added chance so the values can’t be predicted.
    I see the finale of season 1 happening more often.

    5 and 6 are great utility ideas. I’ll likely incorporate then into my games. So far I’ve just kept a tally sheet for each character per encounter. It’s a lot easier when things are laid out and prepared.


    Cheers. I am planning to run ghostbusters much like the podcast. Start with basic equipment and gradually have more powerful equipment available as the franchise earns more money. Then the players will be equipped to deal with more powerful entities
    . Just out of curiosity, do you run the game using the original rules or the second edition (gbi) ?


    I’m still very new (one session under my belt so far), so I am running everything off of what has been posted to the Nerdy Show site and staying as close as I can to the GB:Resurrection rules. I am trying to conduct my first set of adventures through the forums here and play through Skype (FYI if you haven’t seen my posts already.) As soon as this first adventure is complete, I plan to post the back story to it all later to go with Thunder the M’s blog posts. No luck with audio, I haven’t found a decent set of recording software yet.

    I’m still pondering on how to gauge the BP vs Stat trade you mentioned above. I would assume this stat loss would be temporary or until proper first aid could be administered.
    I bring this up because one thing I read in the rule book, but I don’t think it has been brought up in GR:R, is permanent stat loss. The rule book gave an example of what happens when someone doesn’t have enough BP to cover an accident. The player turned in 1 stat in exchange for 20 BP. This would be explained as head trauma, or a broken bone or sprain that would take weeks of physical therapy to recover from.


    So my rules are based on the ghost busters international rules, the second version of the game, which is used by gbr. It is not clear in the podcast if they are using the full rules, however. They actually appear to be a fusion of both the first and second edition of the game, trimming out the more complicated rules from gbi. Since the podcast is edited, it’s often difficult to see what rules are being used. For example, in the gbi rules, Proton packs inflict 3 additional bonus dice to physical creatures, so as you can see from my values above, I haven’t really made anything more powerful. But it’s not clear if gbr uses those damage dice bonuses at all. I remember once instance about a sword providing a plus 2 dice bonus to hit, so since that is a gbi rule, I assume they are indeed using those. But that, to be honest is just an assumption.

    Incidentally, yes trait losses from damage are temporary. You recover them at a rate of 1 point per week of rest. I assume, this can effectively happen between adventurers, assuming several weeks downtime. If you trade a trait point for 20 brownie points, it is a permanent reduction.


    That explains a few things. When this adventure concludes I’ll look deeper into the GBI rule set.


    Definitely worth doing. I think Doug has made the right calls regarding what to use from GBI and what not to use. For example, the trait reduction system works much better than the very vague brownie point damage system from the original game. But the GBI encumbrance rules are just , well cumbersome, so sticking with the items cards is much smarter.And look awesome! I also like the idea of occasionally allowing a player character to have a Power trait with supernatural abilities, to represent psychics or minor magicians, rules for which are in GBI. I think its best to pick and choose what you like rather than choosing one system over the other. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, and are similar enough that they should work together well, whatever blend you use.


    Another couple of House Rule ideas:

    7. Buying New Talents
    Having the one talent per stat seems a little limiting to me, although I can understand why its keep simple. Still, I can see that over a longer campaign, players could improve their skills. So as an idea, after a few sessions, the ghost master can allow players to invest 30 Brownie points and purchase a new talent for a stat. To stop things going crazy, with everyone buying Fire Weapon, I personally would only allow this after the conclusion of a campaign arc, with the new talent acquired after some serious downtime. And even then only a single new talent can be purchased. Perhaps your nerdy professor has finally learnt how to drive like a demon, after several car chases last season. Or the teams gorilla has finally learnt to study something more bookish than “NFL Game Stats”.

    8. Increasing Stat Costs
    I can see some munchkin players pouring brownie points into buffing their favourite stat, to the point which it borders on superhuman levels. To keep this from getting out of hand, perhaps the cost of improving a stat costs 10 times the new value in Brownie points (Min 30). So if you have Muscles 1, it would cost 30 BPs to increase it to 2, 30 BP to increase it to 3, 40 BPs to increase it to 4 etc, 50 BP’s to increase it to 5 etc.


    On to vehicles:

    9. The Company Vehicle Character

    The characters start with a company vehicle, whether thats a replication of the original Ecto-1, or something more modern. The vehicle is treated just like a character in terms of its construction. Players spend 12 points on the four stats:

    Brains represents the technical kit in board the vehicle. When making Brains rolls used to operate any onboard technical stuff, whether thats the sat nav, or a built in city wide PKE scanning device, use the lower of the vehicle or character’s Brains trait.

    Cool represents just now awesome your company vehicle looks like. Everytime you turn up and want to impress, use the vehicles Cool rather than your own, to show how professional and damn impressive you are.

    Moves unsurprisingly represents the vehicles handling and top speed. When making a driving roll, use the lower of the vehicles or the character’s Moves trait.

    Muscle represents the general bulk and hardiness of the vehicle. If anyone attempts to damage the vehicle, this can be rolled to resist any damage inflicted.

    Players, when allocating stats, should consider the type of vehicle. For example, a sturdy 4×4 may have Brains 3, Cool 2, Moves 2 and Muscle 5, while a sleek sports car may be Brains 1, Cool 4, Moves 5, Muscle 2. Vehicles have one form of transportation, whether thats flight, ground or water. This isn’t James Bond, so don’t expect submersible sports cars!

    Vehicles do not start with any Talents,but can acquire them. They represent different equipment, providing the normal 3 dice bonus when applicable:

    Brains: Spectrum Analyser, Superior Sat Nav, Spook Database, City-wide PKE Reader, Super Slammer Trap
    Cool: Professional Finish, Chicks Love the Car, Slime Repellant
    Moves: Nitro Boost,Shock Absorbers, Handles Corners like a dream, Off-Road Driving
    Muscle: Roll Cage, Bulletproof Windscreen, Winch Cable, Armour-Plated Hull

    Vehicles can be improved just like characters but require cash rather than Brownie points. Improving a stat costs a number of thousand dollars equal to the new value. New talents cost $3000 each. And vehicles cant heal themselves, so require some maintance. It typically costs $500 to restore 1D worth of trait damage, and takes a week of work.

    For Gms, they can just create stats for any enemy vehicles, assuming this value is also shared by the Driver. So in a “cannon ball run” type of scenario, a whole host of interesting personalities and characters could be represented by their Cars as characters.


    10. Talent Relevancy
    In this variant to the normal talent rules, if a player has a talent that is close to the situation, but not exactly right, you could allow them to gain +2 dice, rather than 3 dice. If the situation is in the general area, then award them plus 1 dice.

    For example, a character has the Talent Egyptology and are required to make a Brains test regarding ancient remains in north Africa. Since its definitely close to the subject matter, the Ghostmaster allows the player to add 2 dice. Later the same afternoon, the same character is restoring an ancient Turkish artifact. Although not really covered by his talent, the GM does allow the player to add 1 dice for basic archeological skills that his character picked up in the past.

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